Chance for change on climate policy

Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill could bring U.S. environmental policy into the 21st century.

Jordan Ivers

For far too long, the men and women in Washington have let oil companies, lobbyists and special interests maximize their profits at the expense of the environment, human health and our progress toward a cleaner energy future. Our dependence on foreign oil has hurt our economy, helped our nationâÄôs enemies and put our national security at risk. It is time to invest in energy solutions that are made in America and work for America. ItâÄôs time to take back control of our energy future. On June 26, the House of Representatives narrowly approved the Waxman-Markey carbon cap-and-trade bill. A slightly modified version of the bill âÄî introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. âÄî is presently working its way through committee hearings. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009 will get tough on corporate pollution and put American ingenuity to work; dramatically improving every facet of the way America generates and uses energy. This legislation will create millions of new, good-paying jobs, protect our air and water from dangerous pollutants, and secure our childrenâÄôs future by making America more energy independent. The oil and coal industries have attempted to scare the American public in saying that capping global warming pollution will result in 2 million more lost jobs at a time when our workforce has already been hit hard by economic shortfalls. However, the reality is that every dollar spent on clean energy creates nearly four times as many jobs as an equal investment in oil and gas. Furthermore, the jobs created will be well-paid, regionally diverse and available to Americans of all educational backgrounds. With the investment in solar, wind and other renewable energy sources that help save the planet, it will also save the economy by developing a workforce trained for the future. From researchers to roofers, the economic benefits will be broad and widespread. As our energy future transitions away from dirty fossil fuels, workers in those industries will have access to training programs for jobs in the new energy economy. The oil and coal industries are trying to suggest that increased energy prices will further drive American jobs and manufacturing overseas, and the price we pay for everyday goods will increase as well. However, there are a number of jobs in the new energy economy that cannot be shipped overseas, like weatherizing homes or installing wind turbines. In addition, recent local and federal legislation has created incentives for clean energy and energy conservation technologies to open shop in the United States. An analysis of the House version of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act estimated the creation of 1.7 million new jobs; 30,000 of which would be in Minnesota. While the oil companies, lobbyists and special interest groups have fought against energy reform for years to protect their own self-interest, it is time for the Senate to represent the interests of the American public. Nearly two-thirds of the American people believe that urgent action should be taken to cut our dependence on foreign oil and increase clean energy development. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act offers our country the most important opportunity in generations to jumpstart our economy, create millions of new, well-paying jobs and prepare America to compete in a 21st century economy âÄî all while reducing global warming pollution and lessening its impacts on people and natural resources. Jordan Ivans University undergraduate student Please sent letters to [email protected]